Sitting in the carpool lane gives a woman a lot of time to think. Time to think about what she’s going to make for dinner. Time to think if her yoga pants have exceeded their expiration date. Time to think about when the neighbors are going to start complaining because her unkept lawn is starting to encroach onto theirs. And, unfortunately, time to think about more unpleasant things, like what if an airplane fell out of the sky onto her mini van, leaving her husband to raise three girls solo.
And while I’m sure my husband would be fine if left to his own devices – our girls would grow to be the cutest little linebackers the St. Louis Rams have ever seen – there are a lot of details I worry about. Like, who’s going to teach them about the pitfalls of lip liner? Or how to make a pair of yoga pants stretch for six days in between washes? And what about the house? Who’s going to remember to change the Air Wicks, or know which patch of weeds to ignore (Hint: All of them). I shudder as they pile into my mini van, oblivious to the value I bring to their lives.
Sadly, I realize that my husband has no idea what I do here all day, let alone appreciates it. Dead crickets don’t magically disappear from the basement floor; crock pot meals don’t Pin themselves. To help him (and maybe some other non-default parents) out, I have compiled a list of ten requests I’d like to make should I have an unexpected meeting with my maker. It probably won’t hold any water legally, but I know you all will see to it that my wishes are carried out. Well, you all and my Mother-In-Law – the only other person on the planet who truly understands the particulars of living with my husband.
1. You must at least make an attempt to force our children to eat three meals a day. Use any and all tactics necessary. Bribery with candy, threats of deportation. It’s harder than you might think and our kids are extremely sneaky. Once I found an entire bratwurst stuffed into Ellie’s boot. Our potted plants reek of au gratin potatoes. Said meals don’t all have to be well balanced but mustard packets and a can of diet soda do not count as a meal, or even a snack.
2. The brushing of the teeth is not optional. Twice a day, WITH TOOTHPASTE. Again, sneaky kids. Feel the toothbrush, sniff the breath. I’ll be damned if my children will start college with dentures.
3. While we’re on the subject of hygeine, baths at least every other day. With soap. Or at least take them to the pool and shove a bar of Irish Spring down their backs.
4. Hair must be brushed. Once I stayed a week with my grandparents who couldn’t see very well and my Mom had to cut a rat’s nest out of my hair when I got home. The rats were grateful to be put into the trash so they could have a cleaner place to live. Every once in a while, check for lice and woodland creatures.
5. When someone tells you they have to poop, believe them.
6. Squeeze the ends together and pull the spindle toward you to replace the toilet paper roll.
7. Limit the boob tube. I’d prefer if they only watch educational shows, but I know how you feel about children’s programming. Just don’t let them watch those ghost shows you love so much unless you want them sleeping on your floor for the next 20 years.
8. Naps trump everything. Meetings. Doctor appointments. Natural disasters. Do your best to get them to “rest their eyes” as a tornado rips the roof off. Remember – The Exorcist was based on a true story… of a young girl who didn’t get enough sleep.
9. Bills. Pay them. When buying our home, the mortgage broker reviewed our credit histories and I had an unexpected awakening about how you felt about paying bills before we met. I believe your exact words were “utilities are just the man sticking it to us”. Please pay the bills in a timely enough fashion to avoid tarnishing my near-perfect credit. Or at least having the electricity shut off, giving our children a serious competitive disadvantage as they fight with the rats over trash can food scraps in the dark.
10. Now, let’s move onto me. I’ve talked about my final wishes before, and I sincerely hope you were kidding when you told me that you think funerals are a huge waste of money and plan to dump my body into the river. I want a slideshow. A good one. With music. I want my initials embossed onto little napkins. And, if you can arrange it, a celebrity guest appearance. I wouldn’t be upset if Jon Hamm were there to say a few words.
And lastly, I expect that at some point you’ll venture out of the house, and possibly even look at, or *winces* talk to another woman. Just remember that I’m watching you. At all times. Always. Oh, what was that noise coming from the closet? she’ll say. And you’ll know it’s me. Standing there. Watching. Judging her. But please, don’t let that stop you from moving on.